NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


2012 Awards

Lindsey Gilman

NSE graduate student Lindsey Anne Gilman wins the 2012 ANS Robert A. Dannels Memorial Scholarship Award

more about ANS scholarships

Ekaterina Paramonova

NSE undergraduate Ekaterina Paramonova wins the 2012 ANS William R. and Mila Kimel Memorial Scholarship Award

This undergraduate scholarship was established for nuclear engineering students in 2003, through an endowment from the William R. Kimel Trust. Dr. Kimel was President of the American Nuclear Society in 1978-79.

Spotlight on Women in NSE | Ekaterina Paramonova: A nuclear networker
more about ANS scholarships

NSE grad student Joshua Richard wins 2012 Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Award

Joshua Richard, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, has been awarded a first place prize in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards competition. Richard’s award is in the Open Competition in the category of Nuclear Science and Engineering for work performed while he was a master’s degree student at MIT. His award-winning research paper, “A Survey of Alternative Once-Through Fast Reactor Core Designs,” was presented at the International Conference on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP) in June 2012.

The academic community plays a vital role in helping to develop the advanced nuclear technologies that will help sustain and further expand nuclear power in the United States. The Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program supports academia and the goal of the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy to develop sustainable nuclear fuel cycle options by encouraging innovative research in fuel cycle related disciplines.

The Innovations in Fuel Cycle Research Awards program is designed to: 1) award graduate and undergraduate students for innovative fuel-cycle-relevant research publications, 2) demonstrate the Office of Fuel Cycle Technologies' commitment to higher education in fuel-cycle-relevant disciplines, and 3) support communications among students and DOE representatives.

The program awarded 24 prizes in 2012 for student publications and presentations relevant to the nuclear fuel cycle. In addition to cash awards, winning students will have a variety of other opportunities including presenting their winning publication during the American Nuclear Society Winter meeting, participating in an Innovators' Forum, and participating in the DOE Office of Fuel Cycle Technologies Annual Meeting.

Nuclear Science and Engineering Annual Awards 2012

The Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and the student chapter of the American Nuclear Society hosted their Awards Dinner on May 17, 2011. The event attended by students, faculty and their guests was an evening of celebration and recognition of exceptional contribution and achievement by members of the Department.

Meet the award winners

NSE graduate students Black, Boyd, Shaner win NEUP Fellowships

Brad Black, William Dawson, Samuel Shaner

First-year graduate students Brad Black, William Dawson and Samuel Shaner in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT are among 31 graduate students across the country who have won fellowships through the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP).

Brad Black is working with Professor Ron Ballinger on the development of a probabilistic model for the lifetime of spent fuel storage canisters. With the cancellation of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, spent nuclear fuel is being held indefinitely in storage canisters across the country. At present there is no good way to predict the life and durability of these canisters. Black’s research will be focused on studying the salt-rich environments of the various sites and on their potential to initiate stress corrosion cracking, particularly in the heat-affected zones of welds. “The goal,” says Black, “is to develop a model of the time to canister failure based on environmental, electrochemical, and material parameters, with minimal uncertainty, in order to provide guidance to future research and policy decisions.”

William Robert Dawson Boyd III has been working with Professor Kord Smith on the development of a deterministic neutron transport code, OpenMOC, which implements the method-of-characteristics. The goal is to use the code as a framework to develop, deploy, and analyze new acceleration techniques for neutron transport calculations. In particular, Boyd is working on an implementation of a graphics processing unit (GPU) accelerated version of OpenMOC. This new code will make use of the massively parallel hardware available through GPUs which are becoming increasingly pervasive in today's personal computers and workstations.

Samuel Shaner works with Professors Kord Smith and Benoit Forget in the rapidly growing field of computational modeling in nuclear engineering. “My interests lie in computational modeling of fully coupled neutronic and thermomechanical processes” says Shaner. Due to the inherently multidisciplinary nature of such problems and the complexity of coupling fundamentally different processes, current analysis has been limited to simplified physical representations. These simulations are crucial to demonstrating the safety of nuclear reactors and accurately modeling material behavior.  

The DOE’s NEUP fellowships provide students with financial support to pursue a degree in the nuclear field and gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed in a nuclear science and engineering career. Each fellow will receive $50,000 annually over the next three years in addition to a summer internship at a National Laboratory. The selected students will study a range of critical nuclear energy issues, from fuel cycle sustainability to reactor efficiency and design.

"The NEUP fellowships are awarded competitively, so winning one is a honor that reflects positively on the winners as well as on MIT,” says NSE Professor Jacopo Buongiorno. “Moreover, these fellowships provide the students with a certain degree of freedom in selecting a research project, and also alleviate the financial aid burden on the Department."

A fourth student, Geoffrey Gunow, who will enroll in NSE at MIT in September, was awarded a NEUP fellowship while still a student at the University of Michigan. Gunow hopes to bring his fellowship with him to continue his studies in reactor physics and advanced computational methods at MIT.

Photos: top left: Brad Black; bottom left: Samuel Shaner; right: William Dawson

Mareena Robinson wins prestigious Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship

Mareena Robinson

In April 2012, Mareena Robinson was one of five students awarded the prestigious Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF), which is sponsored by DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Robinson is a first year doctoral student in the department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, with a focus on nuclear security. This fellowship program provides four-years of outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing a Ph.D. in areas of interest to stewardship science.

“The holistic focus on developing students into skilled and insightful researchers in the area of stewardship science is what initially intrigued me about this fellowship.” said Robinson.  “My goal in my graduate and broader professional career is to continue to advance my technical and political intuition through diverse experiences.  I firmly believe that diversity of experiences and backgrounds is essential to the development of the next wave of innovative nuclear security solutions. I am excited to contribute my perspective on prevalent issues regarding nuclear security and to be exposed to other perspectives through my interaction with the fellowship.”

Robinson’s research currently focuses on the detection and measurement of radiopharmaceuticals, specifically N-13 ammonia, which is used as a tracer in Positron Emission Tomography. Using a compact high-field superconducting cyclotron, N-13 ammonia will be produced through high-energy proton collisions with O-16. Robinson’s role in the research is to develop a flow-through detection system that measures the amount and activity of the N-13 ammonia produced by this system. This research, once complete, will have immediate applications to the medical industry.

Robinson graduated with a B.S. in Physics from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL, in 2011.

Two NSE graduate students win awards at 2012 ANS Student Conference

Mark Reed

MIT was represented by 13 NSE students at the annual ANS Student Conference held in Las Vegas this year. Graduate students Mark Reed and Elloitt Fray won awards for their presentations.

Mark Reed won two awards:
Best Presentation Award in Fusion for his presentation entitled "A Steady-State L-Mode Tokamak Fission-Fusion Hybrid Reactor with Natural Uranium" and
Best Presentation Award in Outreach and Student Section Activities for his presentation entitled "Creative Writing on the History of Nuclear Technology"

First-year graduate student, Elliot Fray (with help from Brad Black) won an award for his presentation entitled "Self-Catalytic Alloys for Hydrogen / Oxygen Recombination in Light Water Reactors". Elliott has been selected to present this work to scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory later this year.

Photo: Mark Reed at the 2012 ANS Student Conference.
Photo by Ekaterina Paramonova.

NSE junior Cameron McCord wins Truman Scholarship

Cameron McCord

NSE junior Cameron McCord is among the 54 students recently awarded Harry S. Truman Scholarships for 2012. The scholarships include $30,000 for graduate study for those committed to careers in government or the non-profit sector.

McCord is majoring in both nuclear engineering and physics, and is a student in the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program, as well as a member of a Navy ROTC unit. He has worked at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Brookhaven National Laboratory and plans to pursue a career in nuclear energy safety and nuclear nonproliferation. more

Photo: Harry Truman Foundation